Federico Fuentes

While European governments continue to impose policies aimed at making working people pay for a crisis they did not cause, the Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa has taken a different course.

“Those who are earning too much will be giving more to the poorest of this country,” a November 1 Reuters dispatch quoted Correa as saying. He was announcing a new measure to raise taxes on banks to help fund social security payments.

Ecuador’s banking sector has registered US$349 million in after-tax profits, a November 8 El Telegrafo article said.

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa counts on a high level of support at home. But internationally, he has been criticed for policies on development, the environment and indigenous peoples.

Tackling these issues in an interview in the September-October issue of New Left Review, Correa raised some important issues for activists in the global North.

See also:
Rafael Correa speaks on 'Citizen's Revolution'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s re-election on October 7 with more than 55% of the vote was vital for two reasons.

First, the Venezuelan people blocked the return to power of the neoliberal right. Had they won, these US-backed forces would have worked to roll back important advances for the poor majority won since Chavez was first elected in 1998.

The June 22 coup carried out against Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo was an important blow to progressive movements across Latin America.

The struggle against the coup is far from over, but learning the lessons of the coup are important. This requires placing the coup in the context of the turbulent process of change occurring in Latin America

See also
Paraguay: US makes gains from coup against Lugo

Whether Paraguay's infamously right-wing local oligarchy and its parties that seized an opportunity to bring left-leaning President Fernando Lugo down by itself, or whether the push came from the United States government, is yet to be confirmed.

The US was involved in the overthrow of many governments in Latin America in 20th century in a bid to sure up its domination of the region.

See also
Paraguay: Coup at heart of struggle over Latin America

Despite much speculation in the international media regarding the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a mass gathering of supporters accompanied him on June 11 as he registered his candidature for the October 7 presidential elections.

Chavez used the opportunity to address the issue of recent tests he had undergone after his cancer treatment. “Everything came out absolutely fine, I feel very well” said Chavez, Venezuela Analysis reported the next day.

When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sought asylum on June 19, the question many supporters asked was: “Why the Ecuadorian embassy?”

The simple answer is because the Ecuadorian government has been one of the strongest supporters of WikiLeaks, which reflects its strong stance in defence of media and information freedom.

Much has been made in the media about supposed abuses of media freedom in Ecuador.

Criticism of Latin America’s radical governments has become common currency among much of the international left. While none have been exempt, Ecuador’s government of President Rafael Correa has been a key target.

But a problem with much of the criticism directed against Correa is that it lacks any solid foundation and misdirects fire away from the real enemy.

Correa was elected president in 2006 after more than a decade of mostly indigenous-led rebellions against neoliberalism.

Bolivian President Evo Morales once again used the opportunity of May 1, the international workers’ day, to announce his left-wing government's latest nationalisation. This time, it was the turn of Transportadora de Electridad (TDE), a subsidiary of the Spanish-owned Red Electrica de Espana (REE), which controlled Bolivia’s national electricity transmission grid.

The nationalisation was another step towards meeting the long-standing demand of the Bolivian people to return privatised companies to state hands.

A new twist in the turbulent saga surrounding a proposed roadway through indigenous land has reignited a debate raging throughout Bolivia since the middle of last year.

The controversial highway ― which would cut through the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) ― has been at the centre of protests and counter-protests. It has polarised Bolivian society and divided indigenous groups that are the heart of the Evo Morales government’s social base.

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